Sign the 'Love London, Go Dutch' petition

The Dutch embassy in the UK has offered the wealth of knowledge in the Netherlands on cycling and cycle safety, urban planning and infrastructure to various cycling campaigns in the United Kingdom, among other the London Cycling Campaign's (LCC) 'Love London, Go Dutch' campaign. For more information on the campaign and to sign the petition, please visit their website.

By using  the resources of the Dutch ministries of Infrastructure and the environment (I&M), and Economic Affairs (EL&I) the embassy has offered to work with the various campaigns and the APPG to provide expertise and visitor programmes for policy makers and urban planning experts, as well as provide quick access to specialist Dutch organisations that offer urban infrastructure solutions geared towards cycle safety. In doing so, the embassy hopes to give the UK access to the methods that allowed it to become one of the safest countries in the world to cycle.

The Dutch are passionate about cycling and very happy to share this knowledge with the UK. We continuously search for ways to improve cycling conditions, cycling safety, and of course, the bicycle itself. We have succeeded in integrating cycling within urban and transport planning. It has become one of our most important modes of transport. It is vital to join forces in order to make cycling a success. Dutch municipalities and local politicians need solutions to the problem of mass car use in their cities. Agencies support them in developing strategies, mobility plans and designs and the bicycle industry and producers of street furniture and parking provisions invest hugely in innovative products and creative designs. And cyclists also make themselves heard: special organisations have been campaigning for better cycling conditions since the seventies.

Currently, the Netherlands has over 29,000 kilometres of segregated cycle tracks. This is 12,000 more than in 1996. Clearly, the Dutch continuously invest in cycling. All this cycling has had an impact on the urban landscape. It is important to create calm roads so

that cyclists and cars can share the roads safely. Along major roads, however, dedicated cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes and segregated cycle tracks are required. Millions of euros are thus invested in making intersections safe for cyclists or creating dedicated tunnels and bridges. Amsterdam, for instance, spent 20 million euros (28 million dollars) a year on cycling projects between 2007 and 2010. The economic benefits far outweigh the costs.

A history of cycling innovation

With 26% of all traffic movements done by bike, we are the bicycle champions of the world. Our country has a bicycle-friendly infrastructure that promotes a healthier, more active lifestyle. Without wishing to boast, we at the Dutch Cycling Embassy can genuinely say that our country is a veritable trendsetter when it comes to sustainable transport. The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country in Western Europe. It is a wealthy country in which 1 in 2 people owns a car. Bicycle use, however, is higher than anywhere else in the world.

So how did we do it?

Cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands. Since the 1960s, however, car-ownership and car-usage have increased significantly and bicycle usage has fallen, reaching an all-time low in 1978. Cities began to struggle with congestion, air pollution, a poorer quality of life and many traffic accidents. As a result, the governments decided to develop a large array of measures to promote cycling, walking and traffic calming, such as:

·         Reducing car access to city-centres and create car-free areas;

·         Making parking in city-centres more expensive;

·         Constructing cycle paths and reducing road space for cars;

·         Facilitating cycling through cycle network planning, road design, signalling, parking and enforcement;

·         Reducing maximum speed on the majority of urban roads to 30 km/h or less;

·         Promoting cycling to encourage the use of bikes and discourage car-use.

It worked

Bicycle use in cities increased. In 1975, 25% of all non-walking journeys in Amsterdam involved a bicycle. By 1995, this had increased to 35%. We also managed to improve the safety of cycling and traffic fatalities fell from 3,200 in 1972 to 700 in 2010.

The advantages

·         You travel 10% faster in cities by bike than by car

·         The quality of life in cities improves

·         Traffic congestion reduces

·         Local, city economies improve